Hey,back again. So I have spent the last 5 nights in Istanbul. And it’s a magical world… I’ve been there about 14 years ago and believe me when I say,I saw nothing. 14 years ago I was only interested in what can I buy and my ex who is from Turkey. So obviously,I didn’t pay attention to anything that was important. But this time… I decided to try,smell,see and touch everything interests me. And it was loads. Istanbul is full of with flavours and smells and things to see and kind,friendly and helpful people. We were 3 women and not even once we felt unsafe or threatened by any man. Everyone we came across tried to help as much as they could,smiled and just said ‘merhaba’ which is ‘hi’ in Turkish. The food is fantastic,it’s full of with different flavours and colours and I think we were eating all day… did you know they have a drink called ‘salep’ that is made of the tubes of orchids? Amazing no? And it’s soooo delicious!! I got very excited for a second there but let’s go into a bit more details that could possibly help you if you decide to visit. When you get off the plane, you can easily take the public transport to the centre. Buy an ‘Istanbul card’ which is like ‘oyster’ in the UK. It cost 7 Turkish lira,which is about £1. That’s just the card and then you need to keep topping it up. The good thing is, even if it’s 3-4 of you,you can use only 1! card,you just all need to tap it in. Going by bus cost about 1.85 lira, going by metro cost about 1.85 for the first person and 2.60 for everyone after. Strange I know. You have to take metro M1A and you can either go you Aksaray or Yenikapi and there are lots of buses that go to Taksim which is a main square in the centre of Sultanahmet where you find all the exciting tourist places. Agia Sophia, Blue Mosque, lots of other mosques, Topkapi Palace, Grand Bazaar,etc. And with this list I pretty much mentioned most you might want to visit. Of course there are lots of other mueums or just the lively coloured stairs,the Bosporus bridge,all sorts. We decided to do the ‘must see’ things on the first day,then we visited Asia on the second by ferry ( you can use your Istanbul card) and then just walked around little non-touristic streets,tried coffees and çhay teas,tried more food and had some local chats.
There are a few interesting things you’ll see in Istanbul. There are lots of stray cats and dogs on the street but they are all well fed, they don’t mean harm,they are very well behaved animals. They are all sunbathing on the streets, just chilling. The locals feeding them so you can see cat shelters and food bowls all around. It’s very nice, and organised. Talking about organised,it’s a crazy city. Locals don’t really know what traffic lights mean, they honk in every corner and it’s tricky to cross any roads. But it is somehow gives a very organised craziness feeling. Everyone know what they are doing and it’s good. It makes it very lively.
If you can and you don’t mind,walk around the little streets,the local (not the touristy one) market, sit in a local cafe. You’ll feel different,you’ll see their real hospitality. Try baklava! It’s nothing like in all those other countries. Try the real Turkish coffee or have a little çhay. They drink it night and day. As they don’t really consume alcohol, çhay, coffee and salep is their drink. Have a real kebap from a small corner ‘shop’. Try köfte which is lamb or their very special meat that made of intestines, kokoreç. It’s everywhere. If you get hungry,there is food literally everywhere. They are famous of their sweet shop. Have a try,it’s delicious!! If you don’t go around touristy places, you can have a 2 course meal for 56 liras which is like £8. That includes the çhay and maybe an orange juice. It’s cheap… very cheap. I took £100 with me for 5 days and I was trying everything,ate like a queen and have 2 drinks by the port that obviously cost more (2x G&T = 64 liras).
All in all,it was a great experience and if you like culture and colour and flavours and just generally a very nice and friendly place,do visit Istanbul!! And check out the pictures ☺️ Enjoy!